The world's most endangered mammals are the black rhino, giant panda, and giant sable antelope. The Sumatran tiger is also extremely endangered. Most of these endangered mammals are dying off because of habitat deconstruction and poaching. There are programs in place to protect them, but with so few in existence and the circumstances leading to their endangerment still a problem, scientists are not sure if the preservation efforts will be effective.
More than 90 percent of the black rhino population disappeared from their native continent of Africa between the 1970s and the 1990s. This is largely due to poaching because their horns are often sold on the black market. Anti-poaching efforts are in effect in Africa, and the numbers of this rhino species are slowly starting to increase. In 2008, it was estimated that there were just a little more than 3,000 black rhinos in the entire world, which makes it one of the most endangered mammals. There may be fewer than 10 of the West African black rhino, which is a subspecies of the black rhino.
The giant panda, which is native to China, is another one of the world's most endangered mammals. Many of these pandas are currently surviving in captivity in China, and several zoos outside of China are also housing them. Scientists estimate that there may be a little more than 1,000 giant pandas still existing in the wilds of China, but their habitat is still in great danger due to deforestation. Giant pandas primarily eat bamboo, and this important food source continues to disappear as forests are cleared in China for industrial purposes. They are also still frequently hunted because people can typically get a good price for their pelts through the black market.
There may be less than 1,000 giant sable antelopes left in the world. These antelopes, which are a subspecies of the sable antelope, are native to Africa. Many of them are being protected and live in parks that do not allow hunting. They are considered critically endangered, and the majority of these animals may have died during the long African civil war. It is rare to see one of these animals in nature because most are likely in captivity.
Sumatran tigers, which are the smallest type of tiger, are one of the most endangered mammals. There may be as few as 500 or less of these tigers on earth. The primary reason for the endangerment of the Sumatran tiger is likely due to poaching, because their skin and fur are considered valuable by many. Hunting all tigers, including the Sumatran tiger, is illegal, but it continues to happen. There are many of these tigers being protected in captivity all over the world, including their native country of Indonesia.